REVIEW: ‘Doom Patrol’ Episode 4 — “Casey Patrol”

The latest episode of Doom Patrol was probably the weakest of Season 4 so far. After three episodes of building up the main team’s dynamic, we take a hard detour back to Dorothy who we have not seen since the pandemic-induced Season 2 finale and Season 3 premiere. While Dorothy, Danny, and now Casey Brinke are certainly some of the most unique characters in the universe — which is saying something — they just were not that interesting here.

Alan Mino Jr.’s return as Maura Lee Karupt simply was the best of the episode. Despite his character’s default supporting role status, the episode would have been devoid of interest and energy. Abi Monterey as Dorothy Spinner puts in a strong performance, but the character is never one that truly stuck the landing. Her presence throughout the second season constantly felt like a burden, and frankly, the character’s departure at the very beginning of the third season ushered in a new, bright, and reset era for Doom Patrol. Dorothy has always had, via the series’ writers, quite a lot to contribute to the plot. In this case, it feels a bit unwanted. Granted, Dorothy’s role is rather unknown at this time, but the first three episodes set up a solid foundation for the season that now seems at risk to be thrown into disarray.

With relatively few episodes in the season, having Episode 4 be a complete departure from what came before it was unfortunately a bit disappointing. While Dorothy and Casey could in theory have the potential to truly break out, they do not have that much time. And assuming they will meet up with our main team sooner rather than later, it would be preferable for the strength of the main team to keep shining from their own self-contained merit. Adding a(pleasantly) bizarre character to the mix will surely shake the foundation — and it is just a strong one.

Worries aside, Episode 4 still remained more or less a non-starter. Madeline Zima’s Casey Brinke is fine. The character clearly has the capacity to reach some more profound places personality-wise, and the innocent ignorance of many beloved Doom Patrol characters. Of course, we do not get to see her full form in just the introduction, but this episode struggled by essentially making itself an entire episode of side story exposition. It perhaps could have succeeded better by making it shorter and working it into the existing season better rather than taking a break from the strong momentum. Casey in particular seems like one who could interact well with the main group, but it can’t help but be wondered if there will be enough time and space in the remainder of the season to accomplish that, or if the character will feel like a constant distraction.

One thing is still for sure: Immortus will rise. The fact that Casey’s comic book alien father person is somehow involved in the same scheme as Dr. Janus from the last episode is interesting. Will we see more obscure characters pop up until the mysterious man drawing comics has all the trinkets he needs to raise Immortus? Dorothy’s presence certainly teases that Niles Caulder could make some kind of an appearance yet again in the series. As discussed last time, his role in the Immortus Initiative in the first place is clearly significant. Time will tell how Episode 4 merges into Season 4, but the initial impression is that the season just got a lot messier.

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